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Series I. African Americans and the Left

Scope and Content Notes:

This series focuses on the role African Americans played in leftist movements and on left wing support for campaigns against racist practices and for Black civil rights, including the major role Communism played in the Civil Rights Movement before the 1950s, and influence of Black Liberation on the New Left. While the Socialist Party gave nominal rhetorical support to racial equality, most Socialist Party leaders considered racial discrimination (or gender, ethnic, or religious discrimination) as distinctly secondary to the class struggle, and a significant minority within the Party harbored racist views. Blacks folks suffered, SP leaders argued, primarily because their labor was exploited and that would only be solved by socialism.

Communists, in contrast, stressed the importance of racial discrimination, saw combatting racism as a prerequisite to progress on all other issues, and insisted on individual personal commitment to antiracism as a non-negotiable part of adherence to Party discipline. While advocacy by Black activists contributed to this posture, it resulted primarily from positions developed within the Communist International (Comintern) and pushed by key Soviet leaders such as Lenin and Stalin. Communists considered the problems of African-Americans as a special case of what they called the “national question,” that is the national aspirations of ethnic groups and peoples suffering discrimination and denial of rights because of their domination within colonial empires or within multi-ethnic European Empires such as the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires. Communist concern with the national question derived mainly from two influences. First, the Soviet state incorporated the many discontented national groups of the Russian Empire forcing Soviet leaders to develop a national policy. They responded by creating a series of nominally independent ethnic republics or autonomous regions and reinventing the state as a theoretically egalitarian union of these republics. Second, Communists considered the massive popular discontent of colonial peoples as the Achilles heel of world capitalism and a great political opportunity to expand their global influence. Soviet and Comintern efforts attracted the attention of many prominent anticolonial leaders including a group of Black intellectuals who developed to develop the ideal and program of Pan-Africanism. While many Pan-Africanists eventually became disillusioned with Communism, this overlap between Communism and Pan-Africanism had enduring influence on Black nationalists within the United States into the 1960s even after the CPUSA ceased to be an even minimally viable organization.

New Left concern with civil rights and Black liberation derived first from the inspirational role of the Civil Rights movement, and second from the way the US participation in the War in Vietnam made activists aware of the problems of colonialism, imperialism, and relationships between developed and underdeveloped countries. New Leftists, inspired by Pan-Africanism (in some cases without full awareness of the history of these formulations) tended to think of African-Americans as a colonial people marooned within in the imperialist metropole.

Box 1
Folder 1 Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Flyer
Folder 2 Songs of the Southern Freedom Movement, We Shall Overcome! compiled by Guy and Candie Carawan for The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, 1963
Folder 3 The Truth About Columbia Tennessee Cases
Folder 4 Three Associated Press Photographs of African American Communist Angelo Herndon, Mid 1930's
Folder 5 Jim Crow "Justice" In Korea, The Case of Lieutenant Leon Gilbert
Folder 6 In Defense of Negro Rights, by Benjamin J. Davis, January 1950
Folder 7 The Negro People in the struggle for Peace and Freedom, By Benjamin J. Davis, February 1951
Folder 8 The Negro People on the March, Report to the National Committee of the Communist Party, U.S.A., by Benjamin J. Davis, August 1956
Folder 9 The Historic Fight to Abolish School Segregation in the United States, by Doxey A. Wilkerson
Folder 10 "The Negro Question", Outline and Study-Guide for Five-Session Course, January 1949
Folder 11 Negro History Week, 1950
Folder 12 Negro History Week, 1951
Folder 13 Negro History Week, 1952
Folder 14 Negro History Week, February 1954
Folder 15 Umbra, December, 1963
Folder 16 Umbra Anthology, 1967-1968
Folder 17 This Man Will Die Unless You Help
Folder 18 The Cruel and Unusual Punishment of Henry Winston, by Mike Newberry
Folder 19 "Resolutions from the American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa", September 24-27, 1964
Folder 20 The White Problem
Folder 21 Letter from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 1968
Folder 22 Memo to contributors from the SCLC Staff, April 1968
Folder 23 "Negroes Beaten in Grenada School Integration" New York Times article, Tuesday, September 13, 1966
Folder 24 Michael Zinzun for the 55th Assembly District campaign pamphlet
Folder 25 "Black Party Founding Convention" flyer, 1980
Folder 26 "Hear the Communist Candidates" flyer
Folder 27 "Hot Thang---Bar-B-Q" Flyer, 1972
Folder 28 The Road to Liberation for the Negro People, September 1937
Folder 29 "Rally For Youth Rights" Flyer
Folder 30 Justice For All Humanity, Colored America Answers the Challenge of Pearl S. Buck
Folder 31 Africa Fights for Freedom, by Alphaeus Hunton, March 1950
Folder 32 David P. Widamen For Congress 4th Congressional District Progressive Party Ticket Campaign Pamphlet
Folder 33 Vote for a Fighter against War and Racism, Jarvis Tyner, Communist Candidate for Vice-President
Folder 34 "Theoretical Aspects of the Negro Question in the United States"
Folder 35 The New Secession- And How To Smash It, Riding to Freedom, by Herbert Aptheker and James E. Jackson, June 1961
Folder 36 Forces of Progress in the South, Workers, Farmers, and the Negro People, by Jim Jackson, 1955
Folder 37 American Imperialism and White Chauvinism, by Herbert Aptheker
Folder 38 FEPC, How it was Betrayed, How it can be Saved, By Rob Fowler Hall, February 1950
Folder 39 "The Time is Now! Mr. President Wipe Out Slums and Ghettos! Billions for Life-Not Death!" Open Letter
Folder 40 "Program to End Ghettos and Fight Poverty" Flyer
Folder 41 The Road to Negro Liberation, Report to the Eighth Convention of the Communist Party of the U.S.A., by Harry Haywood, June 1934
Folder 42 Some Aspects of the Negro Question in the United States, by James E. Jackson, July 1959
Folder 43 Now is the Time, by M.E. Travis
Folder 44 Let Freedom Ride the Rails
Folder 45 Negro Freedom is in the Interest of Every American, by Gus Hall, July 1964
Folder 46 The Party of Negro and White, By Pettis Perry, March, 1953
Folder 47 Marxism and Negro Liberation, by Gus Hall, May 1951
Folder 48 "Marxism and the Negro Question"
Folder 49 American Negro Problems
Folder 50 The Struggle for Afro-American Liberation
Folder 51 Negro Representation Now!, by Elaine Ross
Folder 52 The Communist Position on the Negro Question
Folder 53 On Certain Aspects of Bourgeois Nationalism Pamphlet
Folder 54 Negro-White Unity, by Henry Winston, February 1967
Folder 55 For These Things We Fight Pamphlet
Folder 56 The Jobless Negro, by Elizabeth Lawson
Folder 57 Black Coal Miners in the United States, by Paul Nyden
Folder 58 The People Versus Segregated Schools, by Doxey A. Wilkerson, February 1955
Folder 59 The Jerry Newson Story..., by Buddy Green and Steve Murdock, October 1950
Folder 60 Behind the Florida Bombings, Who Killed NAACP Leader Harry T. Moore and his wife?, by Joseph North, February 1952
Folder 61 Behind the Lynching of Emmet Louis Till, by Louis Burnham, December 1955
Folder 62 The Killing of William Milton, by Art Shields, September 1948
Folder 63 Lynching and Frame-Up in Tennessee, by Robert Minor, October 1946
Folder 64 Stop Police Brutality, March 1952
Folder 65 The Position of Negro Women, by Eugene Gordon and Cyril Briggs, February 1935
Folder 66 The Communist Part and the Emancipation of the Negro People, by Earl Browder
Folder 67 "Theoretical Aspects of the Negro Question in the United States"
Folder 68 "Henry Winston Meets Angela Davis", by Gene Tournour
Folder 69 The Negro Today, by Herbert Aptheker, 1962
Folder 70 The Story of Discrimination in Government Pamphlet
Folder 71 The Shadow of the South is On Our Shops! Pamphlet
Folder 72 "Who are the Friends of the Negro People?", by C.A. Hathaway
Folder 73 Official Proceedings of the Second All-Southern Negro Youth Conference, May 1938
Folder 74 Democracy vs. Force and Violence!
Folder 75 "Negro Workers! White Workers! Organize and Fight Against Lynching!" Flyer, 1930
Folder 76 The Communist Position on the Negro Question, February 1947
Folder 77 World Problems of the Negro People
Folder 78 Negro Representation- A Step Towards Negro Freedom, by Pettis Perry, March 1952
Folder 79 The Government Takes a Hand in the Cotton-Patch, by George Anstrom, November 1933
Folder 80 The Legacy of Slavery and the Roots of Black Nationalism, by Eugene D. Genovese
Folder 81 On the Struggle for Peace and Freedom, by Benjamin J. Davis, Jr.
Folder 82 "Call for Truth! To Silence Racist Ravings"
Folder 83 "Make the March a Million Strong!"
Folder 84 "Bibliography on the Negro Question", June 1950
Folder 85 Black Workers in Revolt Pamphlet, by Robert Dudnick
Folder 86 The General Policy Statement and Labor Program of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers
Folder 87 Eldon Ave. Revolutionary Union Movement Pamphlets (2)
Folder 88 El Rum Pamphlets (4)
Folder 89 Uni Rum Pamphlet
Folder 90 Me Rum Pamphlet
Folder 91 Frum Pamphlet
Folder 92 League of Revolutionary Black Workers on Repression Speech, by Kenneth Cockrel
Folder 93 To the Point...Of Production, An Interview with John Watson
Folder 94 "Core Demands to Board of Education", September 3, 1963
Folder 95 Spear: Who is James Johnson Pamphlet, 1971
Folder 96 Spear, V.1, N.1, 1969
Folder 97 Drum: Wildcat Strike, 1968
Folder 98 Drum: Challenge, 1968
Folder 99 Drum: Drum's Candidate, 1969
Folder 100 Drum: Hoover Road, 1969
Folder 101 Drum: Lily White--Super Right, 1969
Folder 102 Drum: The Root of Racism, 1969
Folder 103 Drum: What Has Drum Done?, 1969
Folder 104 Drum: All Out in the Wash, 1970
Folder 105 Drum Hail James Johnson, 1970
Folder 106 Drum: Walter Reuther is Dead and So is the U.A.W. Contract, 1970
Folder 107 Cooley High Black Student Voice, November 5, 1970
Folder 108 Black Student Voice: "Black Voice of Revolution", 1969
Folder 109 "Elect Claude Lightfoot" Flyer, 1932
Folder 110 The Spirit of George Jackson Pamphlet, September 1972
Folder 111 Why Negroes Should oppose the War Pamphlet, 1940
Folder 112 Printed Invitation to 23rd Testimonial Dinner of the Los Angeles Committee for the Defense of the Bill of Rights, 1973
Folder 113 Invitation to 20th Annual Banquet of the Los Angeles Committee for the Defense of the Bill of Rights, October 20, 1970
Folder 114 "Save Fletcher Mills" Flyer, June 13, 1952
Folder 115 Dixie Comes to New York: Story of the Freeport GI Slayings Pamphlet, 1946
Folder 116 The Monroe Kidnapping Newsletter, November 1961
Folder 117 Vigilante Terror in Fontana: The Tragic Story of O'Day H. Short and His Family Pamphlet, February 1946
Folder 118 "From Lynch Threat to Frame-Up" Flyer
Folder 119 "For Immediate Release" memo, October 15 1970
Folder 120 Special Report, Lunch- Counter Desegregation in Corpus Christi, Galveston, and San Antonio, Texas, by Kenneth Moreland, May 10, 1960
Folder 121 Unfinished Revolution, by Tom Kahn, 1960
Folder 122 From Protest to Politics: The Future of the Civil Rights Movement, by Bayard Rustin, February 1965

Box 13
Folder 1 Flyer advertising a demonstration referred to as the "Mass Funeral"
Folder 2 "Vote Negroes Into Office" Flyer
Folder 3 "Parade and Demonstrate" Flyer
Folder 4 History of the American Negro People, 1619-1918, 1941
Folder 5 "International Black Workers Congress" Draft Proposal
Folder 6 "Young Negro Workers! Fight Against Bosses Wars!" Flyer for youth rally
Folder 7 "The Negro People in the United States, Facts for all Americans", 1953
Folder 8 Inner-City Voice, April 1, 1970
Folder 9 Inner-City Voice, July 15, 1970
Folder 10 Inner-City Voice, November-December, 1970
Folder 11 Inner-City Voice, February, 1971
Folder 12 Assorted Information Regarding the Various Protests of Black Workers (Detroit Automobile Factory Workers in Particular)
Folder 13 Assorted Information Regarding Black Revolutionary Activities
Folder 14 Assorted Information Regarding Black Revolutionary Activities
Folder 15 Take Howard Out of the National Student Federation
Folder 16 A Call for a Petition Campaign and Youth March
Folder 17 "Guilty of Being a Negro"
Folder 18 Ernestine L. Rose, "Her Address on the Anniversary of West Indian Emancipation", 1949
Folder 19 Coming! W.E.B. DuBois
Folder 20 Los Angeles Congress of Racial Equality Active membership Bulletin
Folder 21 Angela Davis Newsletter
Folder 22 All Night Vigil, October 24, 1963
Folder 23 "Free Angela Davis" Flyer ca. 1971
Folder 24 "Calendar of a Frame-Up" Flyer, 1971
Folder 25 "People Against Racism" Newsletter, 1968
Folder 26 "My Friends" Native Son, 1940
Folder 27 "Serve The People" Black Panther Flyer, 1970
Folder 28 "Don't Buy At Thriftmart," ca. 1964

Box 20
Folder 65 "The Worker's Council", June 1921
Folder 66 Paul Robeson AP Wire Photos (8), 1949-1963
Folder 67 "Paul Robeson Soviet-American Friendship Rally" 1 photo, 1956
Folder 68 "Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen" Brochure, September 1999
Folder 69 "Scottsboro Boys Press Photos" (2), July 1937
Folder 70 "Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys" Photos (3), 1976
Folder 71 "The Committee of 100": 4 letters, 3 pamphlets, 1946-1948
Folder 72 US ex rel. Winnifred Lynn v. Downer" Petition to Supreme Court, 1943
Folder 73 "United Front for Panther Defense" Flyer, 1970
Folder 74 William Kunster Speaking for the San Quentin Six- Poster with Photo, 1971
Folder 75 "Denmark Vesey: A Modern Dramatic Oratorio" Program, February 1961
Folder 76 NY Peace and Freedom Party Card
Folder 77 "Black Caucus Report: 'Treatment of Prisoners at California Training Facility at Soledad Central"- Mimeography, July 1970
Folder 78 "A Monthly Summary of Events and Trends in Race Relations", November 1944
Folder 79 "The Ingrams Shall Not Die!" Pamphlet, Harry Redmond, March 1948
Folder 80 "From Protest to Politics: The Future of the Civil Rights Movement" Pamphlet, Bayard Rustin, February 1965
Folder 81 "This is My Husband: Fighter for His People Political Refugee" Esther Cooper Jackson, 1953

Box 29
Folder 4 Detroit: Birth of a Nation" Grace and James Boggs, National Guardian, October 1967
Folder 5 "Stop the Railroad of Injustice" Black Panther Poster.

Box 35
Folder 1 Angela Davis Poster, 1971
Folder 2 "Dare to Struggle. Dare to Win. RAP" Poster, ca. 1970

Box 37
Folder 1 "Would You Smile?", ca. 1950